Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where to stay

Thursday, June 21. Russellville, OH to Cincinnati, OH 64 miles of riding in 5:38 hrs.

Hot, hot, and more hot. Damn I hope I don’t have this the whole trip.          Left the Roach Coach Motel  at 7 AM and back up to Russellville to start from yesterday’s stop. Going to miss the old Greenwood Motel, “Yall come back now ya hear!” Got our meeting spot nailed down and then I was off to Williamsburg. All pavement to start with, but the roads were really these small, one-lane-wide chip seal backroads that looked and felt more like bike hike trail than an actual road. And as I was riding these things I was wondering if a car would be coming from the opposite direction and really stay to his/her side of the road, cuz there just wasn’t anything but about 2-3 feet more than the width of a car on each side. I’m used to roads like this, but they’re gravel and in the mts and have very little traffic on them. Well, luckily such was the case here – no traffic. At times these little roads were almost like private lanes of sorts, just winding their way through the farming countryside.
         Today I could see the huge difference between where I’d been riding for the past two weeks, and where I was riding today. Goodbye to the big hills and steep climbs. Today was nothing more than rollers and an occasional steep little incline for a quick 100-200 yrds. Also, my average speed was way, way better due to: no big climbs, no gravel, and no berminator. So I made my first check point to Williamsburg in really good time compared to the past – like 12 mph or something. Coked up, checked out this section of bike-hike trail which was a total waste given that I would be on it for 200 yrds, and then gave her directions to the next meeting area in Batavia and off we went. Again, no gravel, but mostly these little chip-seal one lane  wide roads. The BT around here is almost all paved roads, I guess because we’re now pretty close to the environs of Cincinnati. Again, good speed and no traffic.
         Made Batavia again in nice time. Nothing outstanding really on that stretch, so we got the directions set for the next meeting spot – Milford, where the BT meets at a T, with one section going SW to Cincinnati; another going NW eventually up to Toledo, and the third, the section I’ve been riding, it goes NE back Hocking Hills and eventually towards the Cuyahoga Valley. Now this one was some fun because almost as soon as I rode out of Batavia, I was shunted on to this old closed road, a road very similar to Old AP road down in the valley, the one that’s totally overgrown and falling into almost unrecognizability. This pup was a grunt of a climb and bike-a-hike. Then, after the barriers and it was legal road again, it was just this miniscule one lane wide thing for miles winding down through the farm countryside. Very stunning little chunk of road. From there it was another great one lane wide chip-seal road – Round Bottom Rd - along a creek for miles. That shunted me onto a section of single track just south of Milford and the Little Miami River. Again, nice little change of pace, and good to get in the woods again and get away from pavement. This took me almost all the way into Milford.
         Now Milford is a cool little place, and Judy fell in love with it as soon as she drove in to meet me at the BT trailhead there. It’s got pretty cool outdoor cafes and pubs. It’s a hip little spot for sure, and not the total rural and backwoods stuff we’ve been riding and driving across over the past week. Today it felt as though we were back in some semblance of civilization. Hell, I even had 4G coverage on my phone. Hadn’t had that since DC! Met Judy at the trailhead, we got her bike out and she rode with me to the outer limits of Cincinnati on the SW section of trail, and then back to the trailhead and van where we called it a day. By then the temp had risen to about 93 degrees.
         I could definitely feel the heat from the get-go this morning as opposed to the past couple of days. At least in the past several mornings I had a cool morning that turned into a hot day. Today I had a hot, humid morning that turned into a sultry, torridly hot day. Was sweating from the first mile onward, so I really made a point to NOT ride hard on anything today so as to not take myself into the hurt locker with respect to intensity level + heat. Always tried to keep it comfortable, and the bit of climbing that I did have, I tried to stay out of the saddle and just climb nice and easy and steady.
         Ok, so the big dilemma today was not the riding or the heat or the roads, but where to stay. Judy was just smitten with Milford, especially after we’d just spent the previous night in the Roach Coach Motel. So I called around on the phone for hotel prices, and as I expected, the Holiday Inn Express and the Hilton Garden Inn, both in Milford, they were well over a C-note for a Thursday night. And therein lay the problem, handing out 125 bucks for hanging out in Milford. So we’re kind of hashing this out, and by this time I’m in the “Bitch Hungry” so being the grump that I am when I reach the BH stage, I suggested that we find a Subway and eat first and then make a decision. Did way too much driving, getting on I-275 and going north to find a Subway. I ended up doing 18 inches of a Seafood Sensation, and Judy 6 inches of the same. Now it was funny to see Judy eyeing how many scoops of the seafood mix the gal put on her sub, and she questioned the chick when just 3 scoops were put on the footlong (I was going to eat half of hers + all of mine). And the chick did a dbl take, and then immediately put on a 4th scoop.
         Those of you reading my blogs from trips past may remember me going through the same deal with a chick at a Subway putting just 3 scoops on as opposed to the usual 4. So I was kind of giggling to myself that Judy was on the same wavelength. Shit man, you ride and then go into a place BH (bitch hungry) you don’t want to get slighted on the amount of food you get. Rock on Judy. And let me tell you, that chick made damn sure to give my footlong 4 scoops of the seafood! Ok, so the food really settled us both down. No more bitching. With my encouragement Judy agreed that we camp at East Fork SP, back about 15 miles – and save a boat load of $$$. Hell, for 13 bucks with electricity, that was 100 dollars cheaper then hoteling in Milford.
         And here we sit at a nice, quiet little spot at the state park. We’re in the shade, where the temp is about 25 degrees cooler. I still have 3G with 3 bars out here so I can do all my work, post blogs, surf the internet, and of course listen to the NBA finals on my cell radio internet app. We’re ok. Tomorrow, I leave the BT and begin working on and off on the American Discovery Trail. I’m hoping the gravel and single track will continue as it did on the BT. We’ll be in KY for a short stint and then cross over into Southwestern IN. What I’m trying to do here is bridge to the Katy Trail in MO
         That’s it for Ohio. Been a long, long, long trek here. Have to say though that the sights have been stellar. I’d never have seen this kind of terrain or scenery had I just done a state route straight line across Ohio. This took a lot of time and energy, but it definitely was rewarding and a big challenge. Talk to you tomorrow……..Pete

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